In addition to marketing, advertising and showing your home to buyers, when you’re selling a home, you also have to consider the settlement, which includes going through the conveyancing process. Because this process can be complicated, and fraught with the potential of last-minute mistakes, most sellers want to work with a professional conveyancer. The next question, is whether to choose a professional real estate conveyancer or a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing. Both options have benefits and are worth comparing.
Many agents will have professional connections to both conveyancers and solicitors, and can help you make this decision. Conveyancers will tell you that because they specialise in real estate they are more qualified in all issues related to the industry. However, solicitors are more knowledgeable about legal issues in general and are better suited to help you should there be any legal problems past the straightforward conveyancing process.
(A good real estate agent will have professional connections to both conveyancers and solicitors, you can compare real estate agents upfront at LocalAgentFinder and get the expert advice to help you sell your property.)
The Advantages of Licensed Conveyancers:
Licensed conveyancers are specialists in property law who have gone through extensive training in order to develop the skills and knowledge related to real estate transactions. Although they are not lawyers, licensed conveyancers usually have the specialist knowledge that allows them to tackle the legal issues that pertain to real estate transactions. However, this only relates to issues that remain within what is defined as ‘conveyancing work’ by the Conveyancers Act of 2006.
It’s important to note that some conveyancers will also be qualified solicitors. This can give you the best of both worlds, because solicitors have the opportunity to study conveyancing at a tertiary level. Some law firms employ registered conveyancers to handle all real estate related cases.
Some of the services that you can expect from a licensed conveyancer include:
- Respond to all client instructions relating to property sale
- Conduct searches with all necessary authorities to find information about a property
- Provide financial guidance regarding related expenses like legal fees and stamp duty
- Draft contracts that set out the terms and conditions for a property sale
- Meet with building societies or banks to ensure that all transaction information has been accounted for
- Pay associated costs on behalf of the vendor, such as stamp duty or real estate agent commission fees
Licensed conveyancers will have usually studied under the Council of Licensed Conveyancers and are answerable to the Authorised Conveyancing Practitioners Board. They may be employed by property developers, banks, or law firms. Conveyancers must maintain professional indemnity insurance, just as solicitors do. They must also abide by their rules of professional conduct. Customers are provided with updates on major developments, cost estimates and financial arrangements with third parties as part of these rules of conduct.
In terms of cost, you’ll find that in most cases conveyancers offer lower fees than solicitors. Because both professional offer specialist advice, the fee will depend on their level of expertise and the level of difficulty of the case. On average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1000 for the services of a conveyancer. A solicitor’s fees may be slightly higher, ranging from $500 to $1500.
Should the real estate transaction be too complex or difficult, and fall outside the realm of regular conveyancing work, a conveyancer may refer their client to a qualified lawyer for assistance. Before you hire either professional, it’s also a good idea to speak to your real estate agent about which option might be best for your needs.
The Advantages of Conveyancing Solicitors:
Solicitors or lawyers are specialists in many different areas of the law. Some will specialise in real estate conveyancing. If you decide to hire a solicitor for this purpose, be sure to verify that this area is where the professional in question holds their experience. A conveyancing solicitor will perform all of the functions of a conveyancer, and in addition will be more able to handle certain types of transactions or issues that arise in certain transactions.
A conveyancing solicitor may be preferable to a licensed conveyancer in more complex conveyancing transactions. They will have the extensive legal knowledge necessary to handle these issues. For example, if the seller has problems with a fraudulent or deceptive real estate agent, it’s a good idea to consult with a solicitor.
Which Professional Should I Employ?
In most cases, Australians tend to hire licensed conveyancers more than solicitors. This occupation has been around for 150 years in Australia, where conveyancers are traditionally known as ‘land brokers’. If the house sale looks like it will be a relatively simple and straightforward transaction, conveyancers are usually cheaper and fully capable of providing a thorough service. However, in some cases it can be difficult to determine if the sale of your property will be simple or not. For large real estate deals or more complicated transactions, it may be safer to choose a conveyancing solicitor. They will have the legal experience, depth of knowledge, and training to assist you.
Remember to always look at the details of your own needs, and ask your real estate agent for advice if you are unsure of which professional to employ.
In addition to choosing between a conveyancer or solicitor, you’ll also want to ensure that you have the most highly qualified real estate agent on your side as you start the sale process. You can compare local agents’ fees and services at LocalAgentFinder, to find the right agent for your needs, for free.